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January 28, 2015

Did you know. . . . . . . . 

 that antique and vintage medicinal products and
containers have become even more collectible?

Listerine was invented 134 years ago but it took 75 years for it to find its niche in the mouth
wash industry.  When first introduced to the public Listerine was hawked as a surgical antiseptic,
later as an additive to cigarettes, a feminine hygiene product, a cure for the common cold,
and a dandruff treatment.

The 1902 Sears Roebuck catalog offered Dr. Rose's
"magical wafers" for help with their customers' complexions.
Unfortunately, they also contained traces of arsenic.

"For Children During Nursing and Teething"
Ever heard of Soothing Syrup?  It was removed from the market in 1938 after
being sold across the counter for almost 90 years.  Each fluid ounce contained
65 mg of morphine.  Other active ingredients were cannabis, heroin, powdered
opium and ammonia.  Practically sold itself! 

The next time you reach for a Bayer aspirin remember that the company
started out as marketers of medicinal heroin.  Originally sold as a cough
suppressant for children, Bayer's heroin was suppose to be a non-addictive
alternative to morphine.  By 1913 hospitals were seeing so many children
addicted to the 'medicine' that Bayer was forced to stop production.

This 100 year old bottle of Dr. Pierce's Favorite Prescription is priced at $18 on eBay.

This lot of 3 vintage pharmaceuticals is currently priced at $16.

This cough syrup contained over 10% alcohol!

Alcohol was also one of Dr. Kilmer's secret ingredients.

You might have needed Cann's Kidney Cure if 
you took too much of Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root.

This impressive lot of glass bottles and jars is available for
$95 on eBay.  You can acquire an entire collection in one click!

Bottles with original labels are much more collectible.

Chloroform was an active ingredient
in Hayes' Healing Honey Compound.

The next time you visit a flea market keep an eye out for collectible
medical jars and containers.  Just make sure they're empty.


  1. What a fascinating thing to collect. I love the shape of some of the bottles.

  2. Some of those medicine bottles do resemble alcohol bottles.Go figure!

  3. Very interesting, thank you for posting :)

  4. Well that was an eye opener!!!

  5. Those former ingredients are a bit scary.

  6. Gee, wish I could get a hold of some of that Soothing Syrup...LOL. What a great post. Full of historical facts and very fun to read.

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